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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Friday, January 20, 2006

St. Peter, where are you?

Ulp!I was listening to my favorite radio show yesterday, Stephanie Miller, and in her "Right wing world" segment she played a recording of a "hate radio" call-in show. A caller said he was a U.S. military torturer, and that the most effective method was to put high-pressure hot water into the prisoner’s ear until his eardrum burst. He said the subject would then tell him whatever he wanted to know before doing the procedure on the other ear. The show host very humbly thanked the caller for his "service."

This is what we have come to as a people, as a nation. Actually, minority groups in this country know all too well what their fellow citizens have been willing to do to them. The thing that is different now is the blatancy, the loud aggressiveness that our decline in character manifests. Fox News is the most serious offender, and along with radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh is setting the standard for others to follow. It is no secret that Fox is a propaganda arm of the Republican party, with former Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I employee Roger Ailes serving as its CEO.

It should be clear to anyone with any sense that the Bush regime is a criminal operation of the worst kind, with deceit, theft, mass murder, extortion, bribery, and blackmail among its illegal and immoral activities. It should also be clear that this criminal operation flourishes because of the help it gets from the major news media, corporations, evangelical religious organizations, and the Republican Party. Millions of American people are fooled by the various public relations schemes cooked up by Bush’s minions, and the fooling is reinforced by pounding on news outlets like Fox, but also many more "mainstream" news organizations like CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Indeed, the help of the New York Times in selling the invasion of Iraq was indispensable in gaining approval for the attack.

This won’t last. The Bush crime family will eventually fail. There are too many realities working against them. One that is never mentioned, though, is that it is not normal for people to choose crime as a way of life. At least not ethically normal. In this day and age crime certainly is statistically normal. As commonplace as it may be, crime is not a proper way to live one’s life. It darkens the soul, causes great harm to others, and results in consequences to the perpetrator, either on this plane of activity or afterwards.

Why then, would so many people go to such great lengths to commit such a laundry list of crimes, or to give aid and comfort to their commission? In the most peripheral sense, of course, the answer is for money, power, privilege, and fame. But in a deeper sense, the reason is what in Yoga terms is called delusion. Because, as is noted in the Bible, the flesh is weak, it is easy to mistake personal wealth and power for divine wealth and power. Like the Humphrey Bogart character Fred C. Dobbs in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a person can get gold fever, and also power fever, intoxicated with greed and lust for power. The ego and adrenaline rushes that come with money and power can be mistaken for higher states of consciousness. This delusion is sometimes known as ontological error.

It of course is easy to look at the delusion of others as stupidity, and it certainly is, but that doesn’t relieve us of the problem we face. For those of us who know better, who would like for the killing to stop, for the stealing to stop, for the negligence to stop, for the lying to stop, and for all the other wrongdoing of the Bush crime family to stop, we need to make the knowledge we have understandable and believable to the rest of the populace. Arguing, protesting, ridiculing, shaming, exposing, and informing are not enough. Talking about the consequences might get the job done.

When I was growing up I was told that when you die you go to the gates of Heaven, which are guarded by St. Peter. If you have been a good person, he lets you in. If not, he doesn’t let you in, and you have to go elsewhere. None of us really knows what happens when we die, but the St. Peter myth is a good enough metaphor. It illustrates that we reap the consequences of our actions. So for all who participate in the Bush crime family or who give it succor, I say look at the picture above. Do you really want to arrive at the pearly gates and not even be able to try to talk your way in? For the level of criminality of the Bush regime, St. Peter likely will not even be there.

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